Saturday, February 26, 2011

Time is ticking

The wedding is less than three months away. I am oscillating between

(a) Everything is absolutely fine and well in hand. The venue and registrar are both completely booked and paid for so a wedding will definitely happen. Our families have had Save-The-Dates and some have booked hotel rooms so guests will be there even though the proper invitations haven't gone out yet. We have the rings, my dress, and his suit. The DIY projects are on schedule for completion within the next month. The vendors are all booked, deposits are placed, timescales are sensible, and this whole thing should come off without any difficulties at all.



Saturday, February 19, 2011

To err is human...

... but if you do it on DWP forms, you can expect a fine.

A £50 fine, to be precise, although that's just a starting figure. It could be as much as £300.

Apparently the point of this fine is to get claimants to take "responsibility" for their claims, because "I have to fill in this form right or I won't have any money for rent, bills or food" doesn't have enough impact on your life to make you take it seriously. Or something.

Leaving aside the class war bit where a bunch of millionaires (who make plenty of "mistakes" in their own benefit claims and consider £50 to be the cost of lunch) are imposing these fines on DWP claimants who are, for obvious reasons, some of the poorest people in the country for whom £50 is two weeks' groceries or more...

I'm reasonably bright. Not exceptionally so, but I have my selection of higher-tier grade GCSEs including English and Maths, I've been able to read and write since before I started primary school, most of the jobs I've held have had some sort of administrative element. I should be as well-equipped as anyone to fill out those forms correctly, and I have a distinct advantage over many claimants who are less academically inclined.

And I have made errors on my claims.

The first one, was when I first got sick and lost my job. Let's set the scene. I'm in my early twenties. I'm sick, so sick I cannot work, and more or less confined to bed so that I can manage the big bursts of effort needed to go out (I haven't yet been taught about pacing). I don't yet know what's wrong with me, so I'm scared. I have no income and the Jobcentre have given me three forms. The biggest one is for Incapacity Benefit. The next biggest is for Housing and Council Tax Benefit. The smallest - which is still some thirty or forty pages - is for Income Support, which I am told is a "safety net" in case my Incapacity claim is rejected.

Bear in mind the reason for my claim was that I was too sick to work in my mostly office-based job. I had something symptomatically akin to 'flu. I was not in a top form-filling state.

I worked on the forms as best I could. By the time I got to the IS one, time was running out, but I did my best and felt quite proud of myself for finishing it all within the deadline.

My mistake? In the Pensions section. Having ticked that no, I was not in receipt of any pensions, I was told to go to the next section of the form. So I skipped over all the questions about what type of pension do you have to the next section of the form, About Other Benefits. What I missed, was that "War Pensions", although tacked onto the end of "Pensions", was in fact a section in its own right - a one-inch strip with the single question are you in receipt of a War Pension and Yes/No tickboxes. The form was sent back to me, red-penned and with a stern letter of admonishment.

I've also made errors on my DLA forms before now, again usually at the level of missing a tickbox, although thankfully I've always caught them before sending.

The BBC article says:
The proposals also reveal that the government assumes there will be very few appeals against these fines.

Well, yes. If my incorrectly completed form and nasty letter had also included a £50 fine, I certainly wouldn't have had it in me to argue the toss, because I was too sick to do so, and THAT was the reason why I was filling in the forms in the first place.

That's the thing about benefits. You claim them when your life gets to a desperate stage. You're sick, perhaps terminally so. Your spouse has emptied the joint account and run off with So-and-so from Marketing, leaving you with a broken heart, no money and two kids who want to know where Mummy/Daddy's gone. You've finally managed to get up the courage to get out of a violent and abusive relationship even though you took nothing with you other than the clothes you stand up in. At the very least, you've lost your job. You're stressed. You're upset. You're running around trying to improve your situation and get back something which is recognisable as Your Life, whether that means you're attending countless hospital appointments or applying for countless jobs, and on top of this, the Jobcentre have presented you with over a hundred pages of forms to fill in?

And while we're at it, let's not forget the cuts to legal aid and the closures of Citizens' Advice Bureau offices which will make it even harder for people to get help filling in forms or conducting appeals. Nice one, George. Withdraw the support, thereby increasing the rate of mistakes, then charge people for those mistakes on the basis that they'll be unable to argue. It would make a wonderful Dilbert cartoon, if only it weren't targeted at real and vulnerable people at their time of need.

Minor mistakes are inevitable when people in these circumstances are filling in these forms. Fining people who can't afford to pay but aren't in a position to defend themselves, is appalling.

Monday, February 14, 2011

DWQ Part 7

Part 7 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This is the final instalment. It would include The Amazing Maurice if I had been able to find anything in there, but I couldn't, so we are simply rounding off with a short and sweet selection from Nanny Ogg's Cookbook.

“They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, which just goes to show they're as confused about anatomy as they gen'rally are about everything else.”

“It is foresighted and useful for a young woman to become proficient in those arts which will keep a weak-willed man from straying. Learning to cook is also useful.”

“When I hear someone say that a husband cooks, I generally reckon it means he's got a recipe for something expensive and he does it twice a year. And then leaves the pans in the sink 'to soak'.”

On Courtship:
“It may come as a surprise that anyone needs any instructions about this, but even I was once a rather shy girl who had difficulty meeting young men. But it wore off by mid-morning when I realised what I was doing wrong.”

“We breed good men in Lancre, but I have to say sometimes they could do with a good ding around the lughole.”

“On long cold winter nights, when the young man may have come a long way, he is allowed to share a bed with the young lady, although both remain fully clothed and a bolster is put down the middle. However, since love traditionally laughs at locksmiths, it probably grins widely at a pillow full of feathers.”

"Lots of people have asked me for advice about this. They say, 'Mrs Ogg, can you just rely on there bein' a fight?' And, yes, you gen'rally can. My advice is to make sure the drink is strong enough and that people are seated right to make it happen quite soon. That way you've got it over with and can get on with things without that naggin' feelin' that something's wrong."

There we go. Thank you for reading, and I hope some brides and grooms to be find this series useful.

For me, the next step will be to shuffle these about in an Open Office Draw file, then print them out and try and do something pretty and papercrafty with them, so that they can be used as additional decorations.

Today is Valentine's Day. Steve and I have been engaged for a year and now have something less than 100 days to go until we tie the knot. We have the registrar, the venue, and the rings, so we definitely meet the basic criteria for a wedding - we even have the dress, the cake, and the full guest list complete with addresses. From here on in it should just be the frantic completion of dozens of DIY projects that seemed like a good idea when our Days Until count was still in three figures.

Friday, February 11, 2011

DWQ Part 6

Part 6 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers the Tiffany Aching books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full Of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

The Wee Free Men

“She'd never really liked the book. It seemed to her that it tried to tell her what to do and what to think. Don't stray from the path, don't open that door, but hate the wicked witch because she is wicked. Oh, and believe that shoe size is a good way of choosing a wife.”

“'We've scrubbed up quite nice, ye ken,' Rob Anybody said. 'Some o' the lads actually had a bath in the dewpond, e'en though 'tis only May, and Big Yan washed under his arms for the first time ever, and Daft Wullie has picked ye a bonny bunch of flowers...'”

Neither Rob nor Tiffany want to get married, but custom dictates that they must be betrothed, and that the bride must name the day...
“Tiffany took a deep breath. 'At the end of the world is a great big mountain of granite rock a mile high,' she said. 'And every year, a tiny bird flies all the way to the rock and wipes its beak on it. Well, when the little bird has worn the mountain down to the size of a grain of sand... that's the day I'll marry you, Rob Anybody Feegle!'
Rob Anybody's terror turned to outright panic, but then he hesitated and, very slowly, started to grin.
'Aye, guid idea,' he said slowly. 'It doesnae do tae rush these things.'
'Absolutely,' said Tiffany.
'And that'd gi' us time tae sort oout the guest list an a' that,' the pictsie went on.
'That's right.'
'Plus there's a' that business wi' the wedding dress and buckets o' flowers and a' that kind of stuff,' said Rob Anybody, looking more cheerful by the second. 'That sort o' thing can tak' for ever, ye ken.'”

A Hat Full of Sky

“He hadn't been a husband for very long, but upon marriage men get a whole lot of extra senses bolted into their brain, and one is there to tell a man that he's suddenly neck deep in real trouble.”

“If there's one thing a Feegle likes more than a party, it's a bigger party, and if there's anything better than a bigger party, it's a bigger party with someone else paying for the drink.”


“'Aye, but the boy willnae be interested in marryin',' said Slightly Mad Angus.
'He might be, one day,' said Billy Bigchin, who'd made a hobby of watching humans. 'Most bigjob men get married.'
'They do?' said a Feegle, in astonishment.
“Oh, aye.'
'They want to get married?'
'A lot o' them do, aye,' said Billy.
'So there's nae more boozin', stealin' an' fighting?'
'Hey, ah'm still allowed some boozin' an' stealin' an' fightin'!' said Rob Anybody.
'Aye, Rob, but we cannae help noticin' ye also have tae do the Explainin', too,' said Daft Wullie.”

“She'd sometimes wondered if she'd get married one day, but she was definite that now was too soon for 'one day'.”

“'This lad Roland who is not your young man,' said Nanny, when Tiffany had paused for breath. 'Thinking of marrying him, are you?'
Don't lie, the Third Thoughts insisted.
'I... well, your mind comes up with all kinds of things when you're not paying attention, doesn't it?' said Tiffany. 'It's not like thinking.'”

The Nac Mac Feegles are debating Romance...
“'So it is like how babbies are made?' said Daft Wullie.
'No, 'cos even beasties know that but only people know aboot Romancin',' said Rob. 'When a bull coo meets a lady coo he disnae have tae say, “My heart goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face,” 'cos it's kinda built in tae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin' is verrae important, ye ken. Basically it's a way the boy can get close to the girl wi'oot her attackin' him and scratchin' his eyes oot.'”

I Shall Wear Midnight

“Rob Anybody put a finger to his lips. 'Ah, weel, it can be a wee bit difficult with womenfolk arguing, ye ken. Keep right oot of it, if ye'll tak' ma advice as a married man. Any man who interferes in the arguin' of women is gonnae find both of them jumping up and doon on him in a matter o' seconds.'”

“'There's a reason for all the superstitions. The time around weddings and funerals is fraught with stress for all concerned, except in the case of the funeral, for the chief, as it were, player.'”

“'I hear that the lads came back from their stag night fun,' said Nanny, 'but it seems to me they've forgotten where they left the groom. I don't think he is going to go anywhere, though. They are pretty certain they took his trousers down and tied him to something.' She coughed. 'That's generally the usual procedure. Technically the best man is supposed to remember where, but they found him and he can't remember his own name.'”

On the word “buxom”...
“'Yes,' said the bride-to-be. 'I'm afraid I'm not, very, um, large in that department.'
'That would have been a bit unfortunate a couple of hundred years ago because the wedding service in those days required a bride to be buxom towards her husband.'
'I'd have had to push a cushion down my bodice!'
'Not really; it used to mean kind, understanding and obedient,' said Tiffany.
'Oh, I can do those,' said Letitia. 'At least, the first two,' she added with a grin.”

“Weddings can be quite similar to funerals in that, apart from the main players, when it's all over, people are never quite sure what they should be doing next, which is why they see if there is any wine left.”

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

DWQ Part 5

Part 5 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers books 28 - 32 of the series: Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Thud!, Making Money, and Unseen Academicals. It also includes the graphic novel The Last Hero and the OOK! Ankh-Morpork Librarians' Award - Children's Winner Where's My Cow?

Monstrous Regiment

“His wife's long illness and Paul's long absence had taken a lot out of her father. Polly was glad some of it was being put back. The old ladies who spent their days glowering from their windows might spy and peeve and mumble, but they had been doing that for too long. No one listened any more.”

“'Sorry, what was that?' said Polly.
'Going to find my husband,' said Shufti, only a little bit louder.
'Oh, dear. How long had you been married?' said Polly, without thinking.
'...not married yet...' said Shufti, in a voice as tall as an ant.
Polly glanced down at the plumpness of Shufti. Oh, dear.”

“'There's a kind of beetle where she bites his head off right while he's exercisin' his conjugals, and that's what I call serious grief. On the other hand, from what I heard he carries on regardless, so maybe it's not the same for beetles.'”

Going Postal

“Would you like to have dinner tonight?”
“I like to have dinner every night. With you? No. I have things to do. Thank you for asking.”


“'Lady Sybil sighed. 'I think I shall have to have a word with Havelock about the hours he makes you keep,' she said. 'It's not doing you any good, you know.'
'It's the job, dear. Sorry.'
'It's just as well I got the cook to make up a flask of soup, then.'
'You did?'
'Of course. I know you, Sam.'”

“'And incidentally, tomato ketchup is not a vegetable,' Sybil added. 'Not even the dried stuff around the top of the bottle.'”

“Usually she got her own way and he was happy to give it to her, but the unspoken agreement was that when he really insisted, she listened.”

“Against all common sense, he agreed with Sybil. Home was where they were together.”

“”But it was a wife thing. She took such a... a pride in him. He could never work out why.”

Making Money

“'Do you have a young lady?' she asked, raising the glass.
'Does she know what you're like?'
'Yes. I keep telling her.'
'Doesn't believe you, eh? Ah, such is the way of a woman in love,' sighed Mrs Lavish.
'I don't think it worries her, actually. She's not your average girl.'”

“Moist drummed his fingers on the desk. A year ago he'd asked Adora Belle Dearheart to be his wife, and she'd explained that in fact he was going to be her husband. It was going to be... well, it was going to be some time in the near future, when Mrs Dearheart finally lost patience with her daughter's busy schedule and arranged the wedding herself.”

“'I think my secretary is, uh, getting sweet on me. Well, I say secretary, she's sort of assumed that she is.'
Some fiancées would have burst into tears or shouted. Adora Belle burst out laughing.”

“'He acted as if he'd never seen a woman before!'
'He's just not used to things that don't come with a manual,' said Moist.
'Hah,' said Adora Belle. 'Why is it only men get like that?'
Earns a tiny wage working for golems, thought Moist. Puts up with graffiti and smashed windows because of golems. Camps out in wildernesses, argues with powerful men. All for golems. But he didn't say anything, because he'd read the manual.”

“'It Does Not Say Anything About Dusting Under The Floor In Lady Waggon's Book Of Household Management.'
'Gladys, a man may be dying under there!'
'I See. That Would Be Untidy.' The beams rattled under a blow. 'Lady Waggon Says That Any Bodies Found During A Week-End Party Should Be Disposed Of Discreetly, In Case Of Scandal.'”

“…the staff had realized what their ears had heard, and closed in on the couple, the women drawn to the soon-not-to-be-Miss Drapes by the legendarily high gravity of an engagement ring, while the men went from slapping Mr. Bent on the back to the unthinkable, which involved picking him up and carrying him around the room on their shoulders.”

Unseen Academicals

“'Writing a poem is often the way to the intended's heart,' said Nutt.
Trev brightened. 'Ah, I'm good with words. If I wrote 'er a letter, you could give it to 'er, right? If I write it on posh paper, something like, let's see... “I think you are really fit. How about a date? No hanky panky, I promise. Luv, Trev.” How does that sound?'
'The soul of it is pure and noble, Mister Trev. But, ah, if I could assist in some way...?'”

Nutt has written a poem for Trev to give to Juliet... “Broadly speaking, sir, it carries the message you have asked for, which is to say 'I think you're really fit. I really fancy you. Can we have a date? No hanky panky, I promise.' However, sir, since it is a love poem, I have taken the liberty of altering it slightly to carry the suggestion that if hanky or panky should appear to be welcomed by the young lady she will not find you wanting in either department.”

“'There is to be no sexual congress.'
This did not meet with the reaction he had expected.
'That means talking about it, doesn't it?' said the Chair of Indefinite Studies.
'No, that's oral sex,' said Rincewind.
'No, that's listening to it.'”

The Last Hero

“'How about Pamdar the Witch Queen?' said Evil Harry. 'Now there was--'
'Retired,' said Cohen.
'She'd never retire!'
'Got married,' Cohen insisted.
'But she was a devil woman!'
'We all get older, Harry. She runs a shop now. Pam's Pantry. Makes marmalade,' said Cohen.
'What? She used to queen it in a throne on top of a pile of skulls!'
'I didn't say it was very good marmalade.'”

Where's My Cow?

“Hooray, hooray, what a wonderful day, for I have found my cow!”

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

DWQ Part 4

Part 4 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers books 22 - 27 of the series: The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Thief of Time, and Night Watch.

The Last Continent

“'I don't think I'm related to any apes,' said the Senior Wrangler thoughtfully. 'I mean, I'd know, wouldn't I? I'd get invited to their weddings and so on. My parents would have said something like, “Don't worry about Uncle Charlie, he's supposed to smell like that,” wouldn't they?'”

“Wizards lack the HW chromosome in their genes. Feminist researchers have isolated this as the one which allows people to see the washing-up in the sinks before the life forms growing there have actually invented the wheel.”

“'So how exactly does it work, then?' said the Senior Wrangler. 'A female baboon sees a male baboon and says, “My word, that's a very colourful bottom and no mistake, let us engage in... nuptial activity”?'
'I must say I've often wondered about that sort of thing myself,' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. 'Take frogs. Now, if I was a lady frog looking for a husband, I'd want to know about, well, size of legs, competence at catching flies-'
'Length of tongue,' said Ridcully. 'Dean, will you please take something for that cough?'”

“On these occasions when he had spent some time in the intimate company of a woman, it was generally when she was trying to either cut his head off or persuade him to a course of action that would probably get someone else to do it. When it came to women he was not, as it were, capable of much fine-tuning.”

Carpe Jugulum

“'It's amazing what a wife can do if she knows her own mind, or minds in your case, course. Look at King Verence the First, for one. He used to toss all his meat bones over his shoulder until he was married and the Queen made him leave them on the side of the plate. I'd only bin married to the first Mr Ogg for a month before he was getting out of the bath if he needed to pee. You can refine a husband.'”

Magrat is teasing Nanny Ogg that Igor has a crush on her...
“'I think he's a bit of a romantic, actually,' said Magrat.
'Oh, I don't know, I really don't,' said Nanny. 'I mean, it's flattering and everything, but I really don't think I could be goin' out with a man with a limp.'
'Limp what?'
Nanny Ogg had always considered herself unshockable, but there's no such thing. Shocks can come from unexpected directions.
'I am a married woman,' said Magrat, smiling at her expression. And it felt good, just once, to place a small tintack in the path of Nanny's carefree amble through life.”

Magrat is musing on married life...
“'But now I understand what your jokes were about.'
'What, all of them?' said Nanny, like someone who'd found all the aces removed from their favourite pack of cards.
'Well, not the one about the priest, the old woman and the rhinoceros.'
'I should just about hope so!' said Nanny. 'I didn't understand that one until I was forty!'”

More vampires...
“The Countess clutched his arm. 'Oh, this does so remind me of our honeymoon,' she said. 'Don't you remember those wonderful nights in Grjsknvij?'
'Oh, fresh morning of the world indeed,' said the Count solemnly.
'Such romance... and we met such lovely people, too. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker?'
'Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.'”

Fifth Elephant

“A marriage is made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.”

“Sam Vimes could parallel-process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases, such as 'and they can deliver it tomorrow' or 'so I've invited them for dinner' or 'they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply'.”

“She was proud of Sam. He worked hard for a lot of people. He cared about people who weren't important. He always had far more to cope with than was good for him. He was the most civilized man she'd ever met. Not a gentleman, thank goodness, but a gentle man.”

“'My husband is a little unwell at the moment,' said Serafine, in the special wife voice which Vimes recognised as meaning 'He thinks he's fine right now but just you wait until I get him alone.'”

The Truth

“'You're not going to kill anyone, are you?'
'Miss, we don't do that sort of thing!'
Sacharissa looked a little disappointed. She'd been a respectable young woman for some time. In certain people, that means there's a lot of dammed-up disreputability just waiting to burst out.”

“William had never seen anyone to whom the word 'harangued' could be so justifiably applied. It meant someone who'd been talked at by Sacharissa for twenty minutes.”

Thief of Time

“Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.”

“'We're having rabbit,' Mrs War said. 'I'm sure I can make it stretch to three.'
War's big red face wrinkled. 'Do I like rabbit?'
'Yes, dear.'
'I thought I liked beef.'
'No, dear. Beef gives you wind.'
'Oh.' War sighed. 'Any chance of onions?'
'You don't like onions, dear.'
'I don't?'
'Because of your stomach, dear.'
War smiled awkwardly at Death. 'It's rabbit,' he said.
Despite himself, Death was fascinated. He had never come across the idea of keeping your memory inside someone else's head.”

“According to the food standards of the great chocolate centres in Borogravia and Quirm, Ankh-Morpork chocolate was formally classed as 'cheese' and only escaped, through being the wrong colour, being defined as 'tile grout'.”

“Against one perfect moment, the centuries beat in vain.”

Night Watch

“'Oh dear.' The lady gave him a smile. 'You are incorruptible?'
Oh dear, here we go again, thought Vimes. Why did I wait until I was married to become strangely attractive to powerful women? Why didn't it happen to me when I was sixteen? I could have done with it then.
He tried to glare, but that probably only made it worse.”

“'You don't have to ask him, Rutherford, it's his duty to protect us,' snapped the woman who was standing beside the man with an air of proprietorship. Vimes changed his mind about the man. Yes, he had that furtive look of a timid domestic poisoner about him, the kind of man who would be appalled at the idea of divorce but would plot womanslaughter every day. And you could see why.”

“Lord Albert Selachii didn't much like parties. There was too much politics.”

“'Ah, you must be the lady from Genua,' he said, taking her hand. 'I have heard so much about you.'
'Anything good?' said Madam.
His lordship glanced across the room. His wife appeared to be deep in conversation. He knew to his cost that her wifely radar could fry an egg half a mile away. But the champagne had been good.
'Mostly expensive,' he said.”

Monday, February 07, 2011

DWQ Part 3

Part 3 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers books 15 - 21 of the series: Men At Arms, Soul Music, Interesting Times, Maskerade, Feet Of Clay, Hogfather, and Jingo.

Men At Arms

“Sergeant Colon had been happily married for years, perhaps because he and his wife arranged their working lives so that they only met occasionally, normally on the doorstep.”

“It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, 'Oh, random fluctuations in the space-time continuum!' or 'Aaargh, primitive and outmoded concept on a crutch!'”

“She vaguely suspected that Carrot was trying to court her. But, instead of the usual flowers or chocolates, he seemed to be trying to gift-wrap a city.”

“As for Gaspode, he was resigning himself to a life without love, or at least any more than the practical affection experienced so far, which had consisted of an unsuspecting chihuahua and a brief liaison with a postman's leg.”

“The service itself was going to be performed by the Dean, who had carefully made one up; there was no official civil marriage service in Ankh-Morpork, other than something approximating to 'Oh, all right then, if you really must.'”

“'And the best man?'
'The best man. You know? He hands you the ring and has to marry the bride if you run away and so on. The Dean's been reading up on it, haven't you, Dean?'
'Oh, yes,' said the Dean, who'd spent all the previous day with Lady Deidre Waggon's Book Of Etiquette. 'She's got to marry someone once she's turned up. You can't have unmarried brides flapping around the place, being a danger to society.'”

Soul Music
Strangely, I couldn't find anything at all in Soul Music.

Interesting Times

“It was, as always, a matter of protocol. Of discretion. Of careful etiquette. Of, ultimately, alcohol. Or at least the illusion of alcohol.”


“Of course, it was nothing but an old superstition and belonged to the unenlightened days when 'maiden' or 'mother' or ... the other one ... encompassed every woman over the age of twelve or so, except for maybe nine months of her life. These days, any girl bright enough to count and sensible enough to take Nanny's advice could put off being at least one of them for quite some time.”

“And pretty soon now young Mildred Tinker's mother would have a quiet word with Mildred Tinker's father, and he'd have a word with his friend Thatcher and he'd have a word with his son Hob, and then there'd be a wedding, all done in a properly civilised way except for maybe a black eye or two.”

“While kissing initially seemed to have more charms than cookery, a stolid Lancre lad looking for a bride would bear in mind his father's advice that kisses eventually lost their fire but cookery tended to get even better over the years, and direct his courting to those families that clearly showed a tradition of enjoying their food.”

“Agnes's life unrolled in front of her. It didn't look as thought it were going to have many high points. But it did hold years and years of being capable and having a lovely personality. It almost certainly held chocolate rather than sex and, while Agnes was not in a position to make a direct comparison, and regardless of the fact that a bar of chocolate could be made to last all day, it did not seem a very fair exchange.”

“Nanny enjoyed music, as well. If music were the food of love, she was game for a sonata and chips at any time.”

“They say that Queen Ezeriel of Klatch had a squint, but that didn't stop her having fourteen husbands, and that was only the official score.”

Feet Of Clay

“Good old Sybil - although she did tend to talk about curtains these days, but Sergeant Colon had said this happened to wives and was a biological thing and perfectly normal.”

“Words In The Heart Can Not Be Taken”

I couldn't find anything wedding-related in Hogfather, but I did like this computer-related one which resonates to any computer user who has been designated as their family's tech support...

“Hex worried Ponder Stibbons. He didn't know how it worked, but everyone else assumed that he did.”


“'You will try to look dignified, won't you?' said Lady Sybil, adjusting his cloak.
'Yes, dear.'
'What will you try to look?'
'Dignified, dear.'
'And please try to be diplomatic.'
'Yes, dear.'
'What will you try to be?'
'Diplomatic, dear.'
'You're using your “henpecked” voice, Sam.'
'Yes, dear.'
'You know that's not fair.'”

Vimes looked up from his reading.
'Your soup will be cold,' said Lady Sybil from the far end of the table. 'You've been holding that spoonful in the air for the last five minutes by the clock.'
'Sorry, dear.'
Belatedly, his nuptial radar detected a certain chilliness from the far side of the cruet.
'Is, er, there something wrong, dear?' he said.
'Can you remember when we last had dinner together, Sam?'
'Tuesday, wasn't it?'
'That was the Guild of Merchants' annual dinner, Sam.'
Vimes's brow wrinkled. 'But you were there too, weren't you?'”

Saturday, February 05, 2011

DWQ Part 2

Part 2 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers books 11 - 14 of the series: Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Small Gods, and the one everyone thinks of as the wedding book, Lords and Ladies.

Reaper Man

“'And you're a vampire too, Countess Notfaroutoe?' Windle Poons enquired politely.
The Countess smiled. 'My vord, yes,' she said.
'By marriage,' said Arthur.
'Can you do that? I thought you had to be bitten,' said Windle.
'I don't see why I should have to go around biting my wife after thirty years of marriage, and that's flat,' said the Count.”

“Bill Door was no good at reading faces. It was a skill he'd never needed. He stared at Miss Flitworth's frozen, worried, pleading smile like a baboon looking for meaning in the Rosetta Stone.”

For some quite complicated reasons, Death, as his alter-ego Bill Door, is taking Miss Flitworth to a dance. Not being experienced in these matters, he falls back on clichés...
“'Bill Door? You gave me quite a start-'
'I have brought you some flowers.'
She stared at the dry, dead stems.
'Also some chocolate assortment, the sort ladies like.'
She stared at the black box.
'Also here is a diamond to be friends with you.'”

Witches Abroad

“When Desiderata Hollow was a girl, her grandmother had given her four important pieces of advice to guide her young footsteps on the unexpectedly twisting pathway of life. They were:
Never trust a dog with orange eyebrows.
Always get the young man's name and address.
Never get between two mirrors.
And always wear completely clean underwear every day because you never knew when you were going to be knocked down and killed by a runaway horse and if people found you had unsatisfactory underwear on, you'd die of shame.”

“The coachmen and footmen were sitting in their shed at one side of the stable yard, eating their dinner and complaining about having to work on Dead Night. They were also engaging in the time-honoured rituals that go therewith, which largely consist of finding out what their wives have packed for them today and envying the other men whose wives obviously cared more.”

“It is a universal fact that any innocent comment made by any recently-married young member of any workforce is an instant trigger for coarse merriment among his or her older and more cynical colleagues. This happens even if everyone concerned has nine legs and lives at the bottom of an ocean of ammonia on a huge cold planet. It's just one of those things.”

Small Gods
Not strictly wedding-related, but excellent life advice.

"The Turtle Moves!"

“I. This is Not a Game.
II. Here and Now, You are Alive.”

Lords and Ladies
Sorry about all the introductions. So many of these had explanations that were several pages long and references buried in the opening sections of the book. I've done my best to condense.

King Verence has just proposed to Magrat, leaving her rather nonplussed as it was not the proposal she had hoped for...
“Perhaps that was normal. Kings were busy people. Magrat's experience of marrying them was limited.”

“'Nanny, would you like to be a bridesmaid?'
'Not really, dear. Bit old for that sort of thing.' Nanny hovered. 'There isn't anything else you need to ask me, though, is there?'
'What do you mean?'
'What with your mum being dead and you having no female relatives and everything...'
Magrat still looked puzzled.
'After the wedding, is what I'm hinting about,' said Nanny.
'Oh, that. No, most of that's being done by a caterer.'”

On the difficulties of arranging a royal wedding...
“It's different, for royalty. For one thing, you've already got everything. The traditional wedding list with the complete set of tupperware and the twelve-piece dining set looks a bit out of place when you've already got a castle...”

On the difficulties of arranging a royal wedding...
“And then there's the guest list. It's bad enough at an ordinary wedding, what with old relatives who dribble and swear, brothers who get belligerent after one drink, and various people who Aren't Talking to other people because of What They Said About Our Sharon. Royalty has to deal with entire countries who get belligerent after one drink, and entire kingdoms who have Broken Off Diplomatic Relations after what the Crown Prince Said About Our Sharon.”

Granny Weatherwax and Archchancellor Ridcully, once teenage sweethearts, meet again for the first time in decades...
“- there should have been violins. The murmur of the crowd should have faded away, and the crowd itself should have parted in a quite natural movement to leave an empty path between her and Ridcully.
There should have been violins. There should have been something.
There shouldn't have been the Librarian accidentally knuckling her on the toe on his way to the buffet, but this, in fact, there was.
She hardly noticed.”

It's the evening before her wedding, and Magrat has locked herself in her room and is refusing to talk to her groom-to-be...
“'Tell you what,' said Nanny, patting him on the back, 'you go and preside over the Entertainment and hobnob with the other nobs. I'll see to Magrat, don't you worry. I've been a bride three times, and that's only the official score.'
'Yes, but she should-'
'I think if we all go easy on the “shoulds”,' said Nanny, 'we might all make it to the wedding.'”

“Nanny Ogg was an attractive lady, which is not the same thing as being beautiful. She fascinated Casanunda. She was an incredibly comfortable person to be around, partly because she had a mind so broad it could accommodate three football fields and a bowling alley.”

Magrat tries on the wedding dress Verence has ordered for her...
“It fitted. Or rather, it didn't fit but in a flattering way. Whatever Verence had paid, it had been worth it. The dressmaker had done cunning things with the material, so that it went in where Magrat went straight up and down and billowed out where Magrat didn't.”

“'That's the thing about the future. It could turn out to be anything. And everything.'”

“Nanny said, 'Funny to think of our Magrat being married and everything.'
'What do you mean, everything?'
'Well, you know - married,' said Nanny. 'I gave her a few tips. Always wear something in bed. Keeps a man interested.'
'You always wore your hat.'

“'I thought the wedding feast was very good, didn't you? And Magrat looked radiant, I thought.'
'I thought she looked hot and flustered.'
'That is radiant, with brides.'”

Friday, February 04, 2011

DWQ Part 1

Part 1 of the Discworld Wedding Quotes project. This covers the first ten books of the series: The Colour of Magic; The Light Fantastic; Equal Rites; Mort; Sourcery; Wyrd Sisters; Pyramids; Guards! Guards!; Eric; Moving Pictures.

The Colour of Magic

“Hrun met her gaze. He thought about his life, to date. It suddenly seemed to him to have been full of long damp nights sleeping under the stars, desperate fights with trolls, city guards, countless bandits and evil priests and, on at least three occasions, actual demigods - and for what? Well, for quite a lot of treasure, he had to admit - but where had it all gone? Rescuing beleaguered maidens had a certain passing reward, but most of the time he'd finished up by setting them up in some city somewhere with a handsome dowry, because even the most agreeable ex-maiden became possessive and had scant sympathy for his efforts to rescue her sister sufferers.”

The Light Fantastic

“'What is it that you look for in a woman now?'
Cohen turned one rheumy blue eye on him.
'Patience,' he said.”

“'This is, uh, serious?' he said. 'You're really going to marry her?'
'Shure thing. Any objections?'
'Well, no, of course not, but - I mean, she's seventeen and you're, you're how can I put it, you're of the elderly persuasion.'
'Time I shettled down, you mean?'”

Equal Rites
I didn't find anything in Equal Rites. If you can, tell me!


“His mouth opened and shut. Mort wanted to say: thirdly, you're so beautiful, or at least very attractive, or anyway far more attractive than any other girl I've ever met, although admittedly I haven't met very many. From this it will be seen that Mort's innate honesty will never make him a poet; if Mort ever compared a girl to a summer's day, it would be followed by a short explanation of what day he had in mind and whether it was raining at the time. In the circumstances, it was just as well that he couldn't find his voice.”

“'Obviously we shouldn't get married, if only for the sake of the children.'”

“The Disc's greatest lovers were undoubtedly Mellius and Gretelina, whose pure, passionate and soul-searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, because of some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents.”

“Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.”

“'To be frank, I thought you were going to marry the princess.'
Mort blushed. 'We talked about it,' he said. 'Then we thought, just because you happen to rescue a princess, you shouldn't rush into things.'
'Very wise. Too many young women leap into the arms of the first young man to wake them after a hundred years' sleep, for example.'”


“'They'll throw you into a seraglio!'
Conina shrugged. 'Could be worse.'
'But it's got all these spikes and when they shut the door--' hazarded Rincewind.
'That's not a seraglio. That's an Iron Maiden. Don't you know what a seraglio is?'
She told him. He went crimson.”

“The world had suddenly separated into two parts - the bit which contained Nijel and Conina, and the bit which contained everything else. The air between them crackled. Probably, in their half, a distant orchestra was playing, bluebirds were tweeting, little pink clouds were barrelling through the sky, and all the other things that happen at times like this. When that sort of thing is going on, mere collapsing palaces in the next world don't stand a chance.”

Wyrd Sisters

“The best you could say for Magrat was that she was decently plain and well-scrubbed and as flat-chested as an ironing board with a couple of peas on it.”

“The Fool held his breath. On long nights on the hard flagstones he had dreamed of women like her. Although, if he really thought about it, not much like her; they were better endowed around the chest, their noses weren't so red and pointed, and their hair tended to flow more. But the Fool's libido was bright enough to tell the difference between the impossible and the conceivably attainable, and hurriedly cut in some filter circuits.”

A nervous Magrat has spent a couple of hours trying to improve her appearance...
“In a certain light and from a carefully chosen angle, Magrat was not unattractive. Whether any of these preparations did anything for her is debatable, but they did mean that a thin veneer of confidence overlaid her trembling heart.”


“He glanced down involuntarily and saw that every toenail was painted. He remembered Cheesewright telling them behind the stables one lunch-hour that girls who painted their toenails were... well, he couldn't quite remember now, but it had been pretty unbelievable at the time.”

“Deep in the duffel coat of his mind he hoped to one day find a nice girl who would understand the absolute importance of getting every detail right on a ceremonial six-wheeled ox-cart, and who would hold his glue-pot, and always be ready with a willing thumb whenever anything needed firm pressure until the paste dried.”

“'There you are, then. I knew the two of you would get along like a house on fire.' Screams, flames, people running for safety...”

Guards! Guards!

“'It's not that they don't like you, you're a steady lad and a fine worker, you'd make a good son-in-law. Four good sons-in-law. That's the trouble. And she's only sixty, anyway. It's not proper. It's not right.'”

“Sergeant Colon owed thirty years of happy marriage to the fact that Mrs Colon worked all day and Sergeant Colon worked all night. They communicated by means of notes. He got her tea ready before he left at night, she left his breakfast nice and hot in the oven in the mornings. They had three grown-up children, all born, Vimes had assumed, as a result of extremely persuasive handwriting.”

“This morning I went for a walk with Reet and showed her many interesting examples of the ironwork to be found in the city. She said it was very interesting. She said I was quite different to anyone she's ever met.”

“And then it struck Vimes that, in her own special category, she was quite beautiful; this was the category of all the women, in his entire life, who had ever thought he was worth smiling at. She couldn't do worse, but then, he couldn't do better. So maybe it balanced out. She wasn't getting any younger, but then, who was? And she had style and money and common-sense and self-assurance and all the things he didn't, and she had opened her heart, and if you let her she could engulf you; the woman was a city.
And eventually, under siege, you did what Ankh-Morpork had always done - unbar the gates, let the conquerors in, and make them your own.”


Eric wants to meet the Discworld equivalent of Helen of Troy. Rincewind objects...
“'Listen,' he said. 'We're in the middle of the most famously fatuous war there has ever been, any minute now thousands of warriors will be locked in mortal combat, and you want me to go and find this over-rated female and say, my friend wants to know if you'll go out with him. Well, I won't.'”

Moving Pictures

“'You know, this place looks familiar,' he said. 'We did our first click here. It's where I first met her.'
'Very romantic,' said Gaspode distantly, hurrying away with Laddie bounding happily around him. 'If something 'orrible comes out of that door, you can fink of it as Our Monster.'”

“'The boy isn't doing anything.'
'He's useless,' said the mouse.
'He's in love,' said Gaspode. 'It's very tricky.'
'Yeah, I know how it ish,' said the cat sympathetically. 'People throwing old boots and things at you.'
'Old boots?' said the mouse.
'That'sh what's always happened to me when I've been in love.'”

“She don't know what she wants. I do what she want, then she say, that not right, you a troll with no finer feelin', you do not understand what a girl wants. She say, Girl want sticky things to eat in a box with bow around, I make box with bow around, she open box, she scream, she say flayed horse not what she mean. She don't know what she wants.”

The Discworld Wedding Quotes Project

It's time for another wedding project!

I've been working on this one for the best part of a year. Steve and I are both Discworld fans - you can determine the point at which we moved in together by checking at which point in the series we start to only have one copy of each book in the house - and I wanted to incorporate some Pratchett into the wedding in some way.

The wedding ceremony as described in I Shall Wear Midnight seemed somewhat impractical for a person with limited mobility, and our venue probably would have had something to say about it as well, so I settled for digging up a few choice quotes about relationships.

My first stop was the internet, but googling for "discworld wedding quotes" just seemed to turn up forum after forum where brides and grooms asked if anyone knew of Discworld quotes suitable for weddings, and not much by way of answers.

So I decided to check for myself. One book at a time. Through the currently published canon of 32 Discworld Series books, 5 Discworld for Younger Readers books, and several "extras" such as The Last Hero, Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, and of course, Where's My Cow?. It took a while.

The biggest difficulty is that Pratchett is a master of extended metaphor. You find the most beautiful descriptions of love and relationships, but you also find that you'd have to copy out three sections of five pages each of backstory, most of which would be completely irrelevant text, to explain why something like "but they went the long way, and saw the elephant," is so meaningful.

Nevertheless I now have a document with some 17 pages of Discworld quotes relating to weddings, marriages, and love in various forms. I see no point in keeping this to myself when other people clearly want the information, so I will spread them over several posts and then edit this post to link back to them.

There are some books I haven't checked - the diaries, for instance - and some whose inclusion I'm still unsure about, such as Nation and Good Omens. There will also be quite a few quotes that I've missed. Please feel free to fill any gaps.

Part One
The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort, Sourcery, Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Eric, and Moving Pictures.

Part Two
Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Small Gods, and Lords and Ladies.

Part Three
Men At Arms, Soul Music, Interesting Times, Maskerade, Feet Of Clay, Hogfather, and Jingo.

Part Four
The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Thief of Time, and Night Watch.

Part Five
Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Thud!, Making Money, and Unseen Academicals, plus The Last Hero and Where's My Cow?

Part Six
The Tiffany Aching books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full Of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

Part Seven
The Amazing Maurice (except I couldn't find anything) and Nanny Ogg's Cookbook.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Good news

This post is not wedding related. And truth be known, I feel guilty about posting it at a time when cuts and reforms are playing merry hell with the lives of so many of my disabled friends.

I appear to have won at Social Services, and now I don't know what to do with my good fortune.

As part of Steve going back to work, I've been reassessed. Steve's new job involves a much longer commute as well as regular trips further afield, and that in turn means that there's less expectation on him to provide my care.

This is going to get complicated so first I have to explain about Direct Payments.

Direct Payments are paid into a bank account in my name and I am the only person who can access that account and distribute the money. All contracts are between me and the PAs or agencies who I choose to employ. This gives me control over my care. To give a simple example, I could decide to skip showering on a Thursday in order to 'carry over' enough time for a long bubble-bath on Friday.

What I can't do is take the money and spend it all on sweeties and computer games. Social Services closely monitor the account to make sure that it is only spent on items and services approved in my Care Plan. I can't invest it, and it doesn't even count as my money on my tax return. And once it's gone, it's gone - if I have long bubble baths every day for a fortnight and then realise there's no money left in the account to pay the agency for the rest of the month, that's entirely my problem and my responsibility.

Supposedly this reduces the admin costs for Social Services as they are no longer the first point of contact and no longer have to manage the carers or negotiate with agencies. They identify needs and then supply the money. Choosing the best way to spend the money to meet those needs is no longer anything they have to worry about.

So I've been identified as needing 45 minutes of help with personal care each weekday. I have some interviews (sales pitches) with agencies this week and hopefully something will be set up soon. Once it's set up, there's also scope for us to call in an agency carer should I need one when Steve's away from home for longer periods - even if we had to add the extra money privately, the 'account' would be in place.

They've also changed my social care. Previously I got money for the stated purpose of employing a PA for three hours a week to help me do "out and about" things I needed help with. This was about £30 per week - most of it for the wages of the PA, the rest to cover specified necessities like Employer's Liability Insurance, placing job adverts when I need to hire a new PA, that kind of thing.

Now, my assessment says I am at risk of social isolation (the internet doesn't count, who knew) and therefore eligible for two days per week of "daytime opportunities", but thankfully identifies that it would be inappropriate to send me to a daycare centre for two days per week. So what Social Services are doing, is taking the money they would spend on my daycare centre place, and giving it to me as a Direct Payment. It is rather more than £30.

We've identified that I will continue to employ my PA for three hours each week as a baseline, but after that, it's looking a bit blank, because I simply can't think of much to do.

This is apparently an indicator that I have already become used to social exclusion.

I don't just have to use it on PA wages. For instance I asked if I could use it for taxi fares to go to a knitting group or to a friend's house, situations where I don't need a PA sitting right there with me for two hours, but I need someone to make sure I get safely there and back. Apparently I can, as long as I get a receipt, and keep a log of the purpose of the journey (which must be 'social').

The best and worst of this system is that there's no list of approved uses. There couldn't be, because there's so many different things a person could do. I have to think of something I'd like to do, and then find out how much it costs, and then they'll tell me whether I can use my Direct Payments account for all, none, or some of those costs.

It's also a bit experimental. My Independent Living advisor tells me I'm the only person on her caseload so far with this setup. So no clues from that direction.

Ideas, anybody? So far all I've got is an Action Point of going to the library on Wednesday to see what clubs and groups and things are running in the area.